Unauthorized trash fire sparks 10-acre brush fire in Okeechobee neighborhood

Florida Fire Service says fines could be issued

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. -- - A brush fire in the town of Okeechobee is under control after investigators said an unauthorized trash fire got out of control on Wednesday.

The fire sparked up just after 4:00 p.m. and quickly burned up to 10 acres of land in a neighborhood. 

The flames came just within feet of several homes surrounding the perimeter of the fire.

Firefighters with the Florida Forest Service worked fast to bulldoze a ditch around the blaze and then used water to douse the remaining flames.

Hours after the fire started, acres of plants and trees remained charred and smoking.

"Well it's dark, black and it stinks," said Dorothy Rose, who lives just feet from the brush fire.

Dorothy Rose and her husband Charles said firefighters told them they had to evacuate. The flames were so high, Dorothy and Charles both though their home was next.

"Well somebody just started some garbage and away it went," said Dorothy Rose.

Investigators said strong winds picked up embers from a small, unauthorized pile fire. They said in the matter of minutes, a fire burning a 10-foot perimeter spread to 10 acres.

"There is ash everywhere around this house," said Melissa Yunas with the Florida Forest Service.

Yunas said the carelessness of one person could have ruined an entire neighborhood.

"Just all the resources, time and energy to come out here and take care of it, it does make you a little upset sometimes," said Joe deBree with the Florida Forest Service.

Dorothy and Charles Rose said they have been through similar fires before, but the flames have never crept so close to their home.

"Oh yes, very luck," said Dorothy Rose. "Very lucky."

The Florida Forest Service said firefighters will return on Thursday to access the damage and make sure the fire does not start again.

The people who started the fire could faces fines in relation to the costs of extinguishing the blaze.

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